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British Booksellers Wage 'Potter'' Pricing War


Top British retailers are waging a last-minute price war over the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, set for release on Saturday.

On Thursday, British retailer ASDA slashed the cost of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to just over $10, a little more than one fourth of the suggested retail price.

Wal-Mart-owned ASDA said it wants to make the 784-page book affordable for children. Earlier this week, the company accused Harry Potter publisher Bloomsbury of blatant profiteering for setting the retail price so high.

ASDA's marketing strategy launched a discounting frenzy across the country. But British independent booksellers say they cannot compete with larger retailers, which are willing to lose money on the book to attract more customers.

Potter discounts have trickled into U.S. stores and online sites as well.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling expressed outrage earlier this week at early reviews of The Deathly Hallows in the New York Times and the Baltimore Sun. She said the write-ups spoil the ending for series' fans.

Rowling has said at least two characters will die in the final book.

About 325 million Harry Potter books have sold worldwide since the series hit shelves. They have been translated into 64 languages.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.